Nov 28, 2014
This post holiday episode is brought to you by Leo Babauta.
His sage words on gratitude give you even more ways to
express thanks. Thank you Leo
Many days, I try to humble myself and hold a 2-minute gratitude
session. I simply sit or kneel, with no distractions, close my
eyes, and think about what I’m grateful for and who I’m grateful
I don’t do it every day, but let me tell you, on the days I do
it, it makes me very happy.
Why should that be? Why should the simple act of thinking about
who and what I’m grateful for make such a big difference in my
Just a few reasons:
- Because it reminds you of the positive things in your
life. It makes you happy about the people in your life,
whether they’re loved ones or just a stranger you met who was kind
to you in some ways.
- Because it turns bad things into good things.
Having problems at work? Be grateful you have work. Be grateful you
have challenges, and that life isn’t boring. Be grateful that you
can learn from these challenges. Be thankful they make you a
- Because it reminds you of what’s important.
It’s hard to complain about the little things when you give thanks
that your children are alive and healthy. It’s hard to get stressed
out over paying bills when you are grateful there is a roof over
- Because it reminds you to thank others. I’ll
talk about this more below, but the simple act of saying “thank
you” to someone can make a big difference in that person’s life.
Calling them, emailing them, stopping by to say thank you … just
taking that minute out of your life to tell them why you are
grateful toward them is important to them. People like being
appreciated for who they are and what they do. It costs you little,
but makes someone else happy. And making someone else happy will
make you happy.
What do I give thanks for, privately, in my little
gratitude session? It varies every day. I thank all the
readers of this site, for the encouragement you have given me, for
the donations you’ve made that have made me that much closer to
realizing my dreams, for the criticism you’ve given that has made
this site better … for the time you’ve given me, just reading the
articles when you have the chance.
I thank my loved ones, for all they do to me. I thank strangers
who’ve shown me little acts of kindness. I thank God, for the life
he’s given me. I thank people around the world for the things
they’ve done to make the world better. I thank myself, for things
that I’ve done (it’s important to recognize your own
How to Live a Life of Gratitude
The thing is, simple acts of gratitude don’t cost you much
(especially once you get over the initial discomfort some people
feel with thanking others). But they can make a huge
If you’re interested in living a life of gratitude, here are my
- Morning gratitude session. Take 2-3 minutes
each morning to give thanks, to whoever or whatever you’re grateful
for. You don’t have to do anything, other than close your eyes and
silently give thanks. This one act can make a huge difference.
- Say thank you. When someone does something
nice for you, however small, try to remember to say thank you. And
really mean it.
- Call to say thanks. Sometimes you might think
about something nice that someone did for you. Perhaps you remember
during your gratitude session. When you do, pick up the phone and
call the person, just to say thanks. Let them know what they did
that you’re grateful for, and why you appreciate it. Takes a minute
or two. If it’s too early to call, make a note to call later. Even
better is telling them in person, if you happen to see them or if
they’re on your route. Almost as good is a thank-you email — keep
it short and sweet.
- Give thanks for “negative” things in your
life. There’s always two ways to look at something. Many
times we think of something as negative — it’s stressful, harmful,
sad, unfortunate, difficult. But that same thing can be looked at
in a more positive way. Giving thanks for those things is a great
way to remind yourself that there is good in just about everything.
Problems can be seen as opportunities to grow, to be creative. See
the prayer below for more on this.
- Learn a gratitude prayer. There are many
prayers, religious or not, that can remind you to be grateful. Find
one you like, and print it out or make it your desktop wallpaper.
Here’s a religious
one, and here’s a collection
from a multitude of religions. You can find many others on the
Internet, or write your own. If you’re not religious, make one that
doesn’t include the concept of God. A good one is below.
Let me leave you with a prayer of gratitude that I’ve always
found … well, perfect:
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.
~ Author Unknown ~